NICK Montgomery has admitted Sheffield United will remain close to his heart after kissing goodbye to Bramall Lane.
The midfielder, who was United’s longest serving player, was speaking after agreeing to join Australian outfit Central Coast Mariners.
Revealing that he rejected an offer from the USA after his contract with Danny Wilson’s side was terminated by mutual consent, Montgomery said: “I’ve loved my time at Sheffield United and will leave with great memories.
“I have turned down so many opportunities to move in the past but I have always stayed loyal to the club as they have to me. You don’t stay in one place for as long as I did if you don’t have affection for it.
“But I appreciate the situation and feel it is the right time to move on.
“I will miss everyone as I have made so many friends here over the years.”
He added: “My wife, Josie, and I have friends in Australia and this is the chance of a lifetime.
“It’ an amazing opportunity to experience something new.”
Montgomery, aged 30, has made more than 400 senior appearances for United since progressing through the youth ranks.
Wilson, speaking ahead of today’s fixture with AFC Bournemouth, paid tribute to the former Scotland under-21 international.
“On behalf of everyone here I would like to wish Monty all the best in his new venture,” he said.
“Monty has been a tremendous asset to Sheffield United over the years and has given is all week in and week out.
“He really is a terrific professional.
“He’s one that I’ve been proud to work with ever since coming in.”